Further, the centrality of learning to developing effective leadership for sustainability is increasingly recognised in the business world (Courtice 2012).
We are all ‘driving the future’, through our everyday actions and choices.
Futurist Paul Raskin argues that, ‘The shape of the global future rests with the reflexivity of human consciousness – the capacity to think critically about why we think what we do – and then to think and act differently’ (Raskin 2008: 469).
Hence the importance of the kinds of education that can effect this transformative process.
We are living in a different world than was the case even a decade or two ago, and the future is profoundly uncertain.
As Al Gore says in his extensive study: There is a clear consensus that the future now emerging will be extremely different from anything we have ever known in the past….
Prior to and following the Rio 20 Summit of 2012, which brought the world community together to look at issues of global sustainable development, there have been numerous high level reports and documents outlining the need for change towards more resilient, just, and environmentally sustainable societies.
For example, the international Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) (SDSN 2013) details ‘ten priority challenges of sustainable development’: ending poverty, development within planetary boundaries, effective learning for children and youth, gender equality and human rights, health and wellbeing, improving agricultural systems, curbing climate change, resilient cities, securing ecosystem services and biodiversity, and transforming governance.
Education however, can build lasting change - that is, ‒when it is owned by the learner.
Whilst policy instruments tend to treat symptoms of unsustainable activities and behaviours, education and learning can reach hearts and minds, and therefore address root causes.